Chapter 9 (Beloved)

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Beloved :  greatly loved; dear to the heart.

When God led me to this word and verse today, it dawned on me that there is a reason God calls us His be-loved.

It reminds me that I don’t have to “do” anything to be loved — by Him.

I just need to know I am loved.

When I live loved…

I can be still in the midst of my striving and know that He is God.

I can choose Him as a resting place for my restless heart that is consumed by all that concerns me.

I can stop scurrying and hurrying because my doing doesn’t define me or my worth.

I can rest secure knowing that His banner over me is Love.

You are loved…not because of what you do but because of who you are.

HIS {greatly loved, dear to HIS heart} be-loved!

***

Our Word for the week: Beloved
Download our word for the week in a PDF or in MSWord. Be sure to print it and post it all over your house or office so you can remember you are God’s be-LOVED!

Let’s live loved in His PROMISE for us this week: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields [her] all day long, and the one the Lord loves rest between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33: 12, NIV

Today’s Assignment: Start or continue reading chapter 9. As you read, highlight or underline things you want to remember, promises your heart needs to hear. Take time to journal what God is showing you.

Connecting in Community:
I would love to know what one or two things you’ve read so far in Chapter 9 that you feel God is speaking to your heart about. Are there verses or sentences you’ve underlined or highlighted? Click “share your thoughts” just below this post and do just that.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. “good things are not always GOD things”

    • Amen. I needed to be reminded of that today. Thank you Sonya!!

      • when I am worrying”…I can get frustrated with people closest to me.”

        I feel as if this Chapter was written specifically for me at this particular point in my life. I am currently consumed with anxiety over my finances, my living environment, my friendships, my health and more.
        Because of this, I have been very hard on my closest friends, alienating them from me. As you say in
        your book, Renée, this is precisely what the enemy wants! And he is unfortunately succeeding. Through Christ, I am desperately trying to mend those fences, but only time will tell who wins.

  2. although my children may think otherwise … what with the Winter Jam concert, and DST (spring forward) all in the same weekend … we are all completely exhausted … but like Mary & Martha we set the tone … Chapter 9 is most awesome as it has already helped me to start thinkN about cut backs in my life … so I have more date time for him.

  3. Chapter 9 – When Doubt Whispers ‘I can’t stop worrying’.

    Worrying about my grandchildren is what consumes me. I have a grandson who is in denial about his drinking. We have confronted him, but to no avail. He has a sweet beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter that needs her daddy to be sober. I am worried that he may lose his family because of this drinking.

    Dear Sisters, may i please ask for your prayers that Derek will lose his desire to drink and return to the Lord? Matthew 18:19-20 says: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” You are all great prayer warriors, and we are here together in this study.

    Thank you, Father God, for hearing our prayers for Derek and for Your working in his life so he loses his desire to drink alcohol, for keeping his family together, and for his desire to return to You. Thank you, Father God.

    And, Thank you, each and every one of you, dear sisters, for your prayers for my grandson.
    I love you all. Lois

    (Following are the scriptures that are helping me through this)

    Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

    Psalm 55:22 – “Turn your burdens over to the Lord, and He will take care of you” (((and my family))).

    Psalm 91:1-2 – “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

    And, ‘Praying God’s Promises’ prayer at the end of this chapter has brought peace to me.

    God Bless you all, my dear beloved sisters. And, thank you, Renee, for bringing this Sisterhood together.

    • Dear Lois, I can relate, both my sons are separated from their wives, because of alcohol or drug issues. My oldest son Steve and his wife have been apart over 2 yrs. Their kids are with relatives as the Mom is living with someone else and she is using drugs as well as Steve. She has been coming to church with me sometimes though. My middle son Nathan and his wife are separated and he has been drinking way too much and smoking heavily also. They have 2 kids and the kids are shared between the 2 of them. So this chapter really spoke to me also about the worrying about the kids and grandkids. I will pray for Derek, I know the Lord is at work in my family and yours as well, but it can sure tie us in knots sometimes. The Lord is prompting me to listen more as I like Renee, was just doing all the talking with the Lord. God Bless you Lois and your family. Becky

      • Thank you Becky for sharing and for your prayers for Derek. You and your family will be in my prayers too. I am thankful for this study as it is helpful knowing the support we have, not only from our Lord, but from all you beautiful sisters. Thank you again Becky.

    • I can relate to your situation. My son is an addict and the courts gave me custody of his son who is almost 3. The mother was an addict as well, but as disappeared from my grandson’s life for now. I will be lifting up your family in prayer. You are not going through this alone. Sometimes in feels like it. Hang on to those verses and constantly seek the Lord. I hang on sometimes by a thread – but I know God is faithful and he has plans for all of us. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to hearm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Blessings to you

      • Thank you Elaine for also sharing and for your prayers for Derek. When Derek’s daughter was 4 months old, i went out and took care of her for five months. She became ‘my little baby girl’. When it was time to leave, i wanted to put her into my suitcase and take her with me. She has a special place in my heart. Thank you again Elaine; you and your family will be in my prayers too.

        • Dear God,

          Lois, Elaine, and Becky are trusting YOU with their most prized possesions-the children and grandchildren you have created in your image. We stand with them tonight knowing YOU are the answer and thank you that your work through Renee’s ministry is speaking to their hearts! God, you are good in all the broken pieces. Please restore these homes, these troubled kids, their hearts to the truth. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ!

          • Karen, thank you for your beautiful prayer to our God for our (as you wonderfully said) ‘most prized possessions’ – our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Thank you so much, Karen, and i want to thank you also from Elaine, Becky, and i am including Joyce too for her daughters. Thank you, Thank you, Karen.

          • You are so welcome! My heart goes out to you. God’s heart is for you!
            Smiles…

    • Carrie swearingen says:

      Praying. For Derek Lois that he will find comfort and healing in God and will lose his addiction to drinking. God is in control of this situation and will guide him on the path He has for Derek.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I can relate too. I will pray for Derek. I see my brother, Kenneth leading in the same path. It just breaks my heart to see what he is doing to himself and to his family. His step-daughter went to live with her father (who she barely knows) and his wife almost left with both his step-son who is almost 12 and his 3 year old son. I feel too that he is about to lose everything!
      So many have turned to alcohol and drugs as to drown out their sorrows. When all that God wants from them is to turn to Him. The movie Courageous comes to my mind. Have you heard of it? It takes a tragedy to have this police officer to see that he was meant to be courageous and lead his family to God. Also others signed that they too would lead their families to God. Not to be a good enough father, but to be a great Godly father and husband to his family. We need that now more than ever!
      If you haven’t seen this movie you should watch it. It’s a great moral movie. Just be sure to have tissues handy it will make you cry in some of the scenes.

      • Kimberly, thank you for praying for Derek and for sharing about your brother. No, i have not seen the movie, Courageous, but i will and will share with my family. Thank you again, Kimberly, and i will pray for your brother, Kenneth, and his family too. God’s Blessings to you.

  4. Heather Brickey says:

    What caught me this week was that on pg. 172 it says that “God doesn’t promise understanding; He promises peace in the midst of not understanding. His nearness can be our good, and finding a refuge of peace in Him can be our goal (Ps. 73:28).

    I have recently felt that God is calling me to “move” in some way, but when I asked how, I was told to “be still”. But for me it was very hard to just let it go at that and wait for what was next, I had to make up scenarios of what it was he was going to be doing in my life that I would need to “move”. So I shared those things with friends and they were very discouraging about my ideas. Which in turn made me very discouraged, but I realized that I was making things up that “I” wanted God to do in my life, without even knowing yet His plans. Which is good to realize but since then I’ve had a troubled heart about it and I’ve been “worried” about what it is He wants to do. So this chapter and those verses have really helped me to have a better mindset and “heartset” about it all. I know God has a plan for me and I know he will let me in on that plan at the right time.

    I also liked the idea of going in to pray with the intention of just listening to God and knowing what is on God’s heart, and what his thoughts are towards me. That was also very helpful, and after doing just that I felt a peace and calm that I hadn’t in a while.

    • Hi Heather,
      I can really relate to what you said in your post. It seems that we (and I am sure many others) are going through similar things. I have also sensed God leading me to something but do not want to get out ahead of Him or be out of His will for my life. He has done some amazing things in my life this past year! I, too, want to plan and go through scenarios that He may have in store for me, when I should be spending time in prayer and listening instead of toiling and striving. I will pray for you….will you pray for me about this?

    • Carrie swearingen says:

      I loved this scripture as well.

  5. Hi Renee,

    Thank you for the reminder on your email about the enemy will try to keep our hearts restless when Jesus is becooning us to rest in Him. I needed to hear that today. It has been a little rough.

  6. I like Renee’s comments about spending time with God in a variety of ways (time of day, activities). I am not a morning person either, but I do try my best to start my day off with Him. With that said, I also “seek” Him through my activities throughout the day, too.

    I am also going to try and listen to God more when I spend time with Him. Asking God what is on His heart and His thoughts is a great way for me to not be so self-focused!

    I also liked the part about praising God and embracing His peace in the midst of not understanding.

    This chapter has really helped me realign my perspective in multiple ways. Thanks, Renee!

  7. I too can relate to alot of feelings described by you Sister Renee in Capter 9.I And page 164 spoke to my Heart the most.Worrying Robs us.And I ask God to Forgive me for my past Worries because worrying is a form of Sin.Worrying drains us Physically,Mentally,Emotionally,Spiritually.And iit Robs us of the Blessings of God.And When we worry it is basically saying we are not Trusting God or His Promises.And I am making a Declaration of Faith.God is My Refuge and the Power that Substains me.He is My ever Present help in time of need.Therefore I refuse to be afraid.Even if the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the middle of the ocean,or if the sea swell and roar causing the mountains to crumble to the ground I will not be moved to fear or find cause to be terrified.[PSALM 59:1-13]For God is Our Refuge and Strength a very Present help in time of trouble.Ladies therefore we have no need to fear.[PSALM 46:1-3].I have let past hurts and failures rob me of many years.I am So thankful to God and to Woman of God that Encoourage us to keep on fighting the good fight.Our Past Doesn’t determine our FutureI am So Thankful first to God for all the Love Mercy and Grace He freely gives and to all you Woman of God that Encourage one another to not let Doubt Rob you of who God called you to be.And Thank you Sister Renn for helping us with the testimonies that you to had to overcome.

  8. Rebecca Greene says:

    I have always loved the Mary and Martha passage of scripture. Sometimes I feel we are trying to be Marys in a Martha world. My favorite part is when Jesus says “Martha, Martha”. He called her name twice, just like my parents did when I was a child and they wanted to get my attention. It was either daddy shaking his head saying Bec, Bec or mother saying Rebecca Jayne very sternly. In either case, speaking my name twice meant I needed to pay attention. Therefore I feel in this passage Jesus is demanding the same kind of attention.

  9. Hello Everyone,

    Renee I started reading Chap 9 this evening and it was just what I needed. I tend to take myself too seriously and when I read the part about you taking your dog’s seizure medicine I couldn’t stop laughing. When my husband came up to check on me I read it to him and he started laughing. Laughter truly is a good medicine. Hope you don’t mind our laughing at your expense; but that was just so funny.
    Yes, I’ve been there–too busy and frustrated. Thank you for sharing and being real.
    The place you stayed sounds so beautiful; glad you have somewhere to get away to and a husband who recognizes that. I have a really wonderful supportive husband as well.
    Beth

    • I”m so glad that story made you laugh – and your husband too!! It cracked me up when it happened. We all got a good laugh about it for quite a while!! Laughter really is the best medicine!!

  10. Authorine says
    March13,2012
    “Let the ,Beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him” (Duet.32: 12)
    Beloved! what a wonderful word, very touching ,just knowing that you are loved by God is good enough.I can choose Him as a resting place,even in my midst of striving, my restless heart,and my worried mind, I can feel beloved because I know I can rest in His secure,knowing that His banner over me is love.I am loved not because of what I can do but because of who I am, ” His Beloved”.I read Psalm 139:1, O,Lord. You have examined my heart and know everything about me.” God knows the seccurity and strength we need.Let us trust and love God !

  11. Dear Renee,

    This chapter is so timely for me right where I am. Work has increased its demand on my life with sudden and unexpected deadlines that can feel overwhelming, but this chapter reminds me to rest in His presence. One thing that really spoke to me was: “God doesn’t promise understanding; He promises peace in the midst of not understanding.” Some good advice is “her worries didn’t change anything except the condition of her heart and the atmosphere of her home.” This week I will be tempted to worry about how I can get all I need to done, but I will choose to rest secure in Him. Thank you for reminding me of this : )

  12. Stephanie says:

    I would like to share a beautiful song by Tenth Avenue North titled: Beloved

  13. Stephanie says:

    Also, I began reading the chapter yesterday and I stopped reading after Renee shares the Mary and Martha story. I have not had a chance to continue reading yet, but tonight when I went to my weekly prayer group, the leader said that before we left she wanted to share a short audio lesson about Mary and Martha!! this was not even our topic for the evening!

    I knew then that God really wants me to hear His lesson and instruction on not worrying!

    I love HIs gentle and protective shepherding!

    It just so happens that right before my prayer group, I was really stressing about my load of responsibilities and even considered NOT going to prayer group so that I could finish a task….hmmm…..

    glad I went! 🙂 and Praising HIm for His love!

  14. Worry…did we say the topic of the week is worry. “I don’t worry, I just stay up all night PRAYING”. Yes, I have been known to worry… a lot of times. This week I also started my church ladies on the study by Lysa Becoming more than just a good Bible Study girl. And the subject for the week is: “Worry”. Last night as I considered (not worried about) all I had to do this week I saw the words, “Worry is going through something more times than God wants you to.” Come again. Worry is going through a thing in my head over and over. God only wants me to go through it once and possibly He doesn’t want me to go through it at all. Matt. 6: 25 -34 ~ read it dear sisters. Read it over and over and over. That is what He wants us to do. Yes, I have some biggies going on in my life. I have 18 hoops to jump through to get rid of a $$,$$$ bill that is not mine, but I have 40 more days to get all my hoops in order and jump through them. (In my spare time of being a working mom of 4, full time student and wife of husband out of work.) I am past the point of worry, I guess. I am living between the pages of Matt. 6: 25-34. I bought a bird feeder for my tree outside my dinning room window to remind me of what a little sparrow looks like. God sees them fall and get pestered by the Scrub Jays. (For you who don’t have Scrub Jays, they are big blue/gray critters that try to steal the little birds food, when they have an orchard of oak trees all to themselves. They even eat my cats food.)
    God knows all about it. He is so much bigger than I can imagine. He made me for this life, this time period. He has it under control. Lam 3:22-25 are my life verses. Please read these scriptures dear sisters, and take heart.

  15. I read Chapter 9 last evening. Wow, those thoughts mirror my own. Wanting to quit, weary from worry…angry/irritable. I read, “With your many roles, responsibilities and relationships, do you ever get overwhelmed? do your worries ever make you weary?” Oh, my gosh, yes! All the time! Another sentence that stood out…”I used to think that if I wasn’t worried about something, then God wouldn’t be either.” Or that He might think that because I’m not worriedly praying about it…I don’t think it’s important enough to pray about and He will forget it. (Like the struggles of my kids, and their destiny in Him.)

    I think that I can relate to anxiety-related depression as well. I often feel anxious and depressed. I hate it but don’t know exactly how to change it. I understand what you meant about 15 voices talking in your head at at the same time….how my mind never seems to “shut up” and rest.

    In the section on “Out of Balance,” I too, have been reading, journaling and praying…but it never seemed like enough…even in that I grew weary. But, you are right…listening has been the hardest. I feel like a two year old on a sugar high being told to “sit still”….I can’t seem to stop long enough to listen. I need to “find the important balance between talking and listening to God…” It is SO hard!

    How do you change an engrained habit…that has been there since you were very little? It seems impossible. Even my mother used to call me “Worry wart.” (ewww…)

    Needing a renovation in this area. I REALLY want to change/grow/be free to trust HIM always and only!

  16. I do believe this chapter has spoken the LOUDEST to me so far. Each chapter has spoken volumes and taught me so much about God, and how He sees me, but this one nailed me… I worry because I doubt God’s word! It is a hard, hard pill to swallow, but I am so thankful He opened my eyes to this truth so I can work on my doubt/unbelief!

    I take my emotions out on my family, my 4 girls, my husband, and any other person I have “allowed” to get close to me…. And it truly breaks my heart! I am often so ashamed of my behavior after I give in to my worry, and yes, it just adds to that worry!

    TODAY, I am reclaiming my heart!!! I’m gonna begin whipping it back into shape! All week God has said to me in many aspects… “It’s a HEART thing!” So, heart, be ready for some getting into shape! 🙂

    At His Mercy, and thankful for His love and grace

  17. KAY PARRISH says:

    I AM WAY BEHIND SO I HAVEN’T STUDIED THAT CHAPER YET. I HAVE READ THE BOOK EARLIIER. BEST BOOK I HAVE READ SINCE THE BIBLE TO GET CONFIDENCE WHERE IT SHOULD BE. I READ THE POST REALLY THE PRAYER YOU PRAYED FOR US. I PRAY IT FOR ALL OF US. BELOVED WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORD. IT SO WONDERFUL TO ME THAT I AM SO LOVED BY GOD THAT I DON’T HAVE TO SEEK LOVE IN THE WRONG PLACES!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE ARE ALWAYS WANTED PEOPLE TO ACCEPT ME. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER NEAR AS MUCH AS IT USED TO. AFTER 67 YEARS OF LIVING THAT WAY IT SUCH A BLESSING TO REALIZE GOD ACCEPTS ME NO MATTER WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM HIS BELOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS KAY

  18. “God notices and He cares” (From page 164). I get so wrapped up in life and at times feel like I’ve got to handle the whole world or things won’t get done. But that’s not the Truth. Thanks for that simple 5 word sentence followed by Psalm 139: 1-5. When I take the time to slow down and listen, it’s nice to hear that God really does ‘get’ me…even if my husband, kids, boss, etc. don’t.

  19. The story you used about Martha and Mary really got to me, reading it this time! I used to be a Martha; always doing things I felt no one else could do “right”. Then over the past couple of years, I started to rethink my life and what was more important, people, family, friends, strangers. God pointed this out to me again recently with the loss of a loved one.
    I figured out I had a “control freak” inside of me! I am working on giving control to God and not worrying about the little things, but looking for opportunities to share time with others and look for those “interruptions” that God has planned for me to show others His love and mercy. The time with share with others is what matters the most-this is the big thing! Jesus said it best; “Mary has chosen what is better”.

  20. “…remember you are God’s be-LOVED, not do-loved!”

    I SO need to hear this…I am wrestling today with feeling that God MUST be annoyed at me because I just can’t seem to “do it right.” (Makes me want to cry.) I WANT to just believe that He is loving me–because…but can’t seem to sense that…although I can accent to it. :^\

  21. I needed to hear this so badly today and I am so thankful it came through when it did!!

    From my heart, thank you so much!!

  22. I also worry about my Girls salvation if they will ever accept Jesus as their savior!! I would also like to ask all of my sisters to pray for my girls salvation!! Thank you! Renee i liked what you said about your devotion time with the Lord that your time it was like drive thru devotion than the five course meals my soul needed i do that sometimes!! But thank God I do not do that any more!! And i pray about everything most of the time!! Lois i will pray for your Grandson.

    • Thank you Joyce for praying for my grandson, and i will be happy to pray for your girls’ salvation too.

      In “Are God’s Promises Big Enough for My Problems?” (page 171), Renee lists the steps Paul gives in Philippians 4:6-7 for God’s peace in the midst of our problems/worries, which are 1) stop worrying, 2) start praying, and 3) keep thanking God. We will most assuredly do that for our children (and any worry/burden). We have an awesome God. Thank you again, joyce.

  23. The first point that hit me was when Renee wrote “Too often, instead of talking to Jesus, I think a lot of times we just start talking to ourselves in our heads until our accumulation of concerns become worries. Yet Jesus invites us to come and talk to Him. He promises a resting place for our restless hearts. He says “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

    This happens to me all the time. I just start thinking of all that I have to do and how I am going to get it all done and still be good mom, wife, childcare provider and then I begin to worry instead of talking with Jesus and saying Lord here is what is on my mind, how do you want me to take care of it. What do you want me to get done, what is your will for me.

    The verses that have hit me and shown me what I need to do when worries come over me is Psalm 73:23-26:

    Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
    You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory;
    Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my hear and my portion forever.

    I also was very blessed with the be-loved not the do-loved.

    • Peggybythesea says:

      My dear sisters…Missy, I too was comforted by Psalm 73….It was what I was goiing to write about…I am so saddened by so many of us in such a state over our children, grandchildren and our own lives right now….There are so many things that pull on our heartstrings…After Psalm 73…Renee wrote…”I love how he replaced his confusion and defeat with the refuge of God’s strength and comfort” If we could (for me anyway) just remember that every moment we start to worry!!!! I know it all in my head and sometimes i just cry out “Jesus, Jesus” because i don’t know what else to do…

      I struggle with being far from our two sons, they live 1200 miles away!!! I miss them, I miss being in their lives, watching them live, being with our two year old grandson…The older I get the more I wonder why we ever moved away…It was right at the time but I have tried everything possible along with many breakdowns and struggles with addiction myself…I say “God you knew I would feel so much anguish over this, You knew I would feel this way” Why did You allow it??? I know we make choices in life and have to live with the consequences, God allows that in us, but WHY??? I miss my home, my sons, their families, my friends…We were always so close, they were always at our home for something….I don’t understand and I struggle and then i say “God you can make a way where their seems to be no way”!! Why don’t You? What are you trying to teach me….why haven’t i learned something yet???? Oh, the questions and sadness that go through me…..

      I am sorry, I just vented lots but if it isn’t this it is what each of us deal with in life. We all have different struggles but mother’s hearts, grandmothers hearts and so much we cannot do. God is in control, not me…I feel i let go of that …but have I??? I am sorry and I love the Lord with all my heart and soul but I just am sad over so many people hurting…

      Yup, we live in a fallen world and Jesus told us it would be hard but He would not leave us…I know that in my head, tell my heart Lord….I am praying for all of you and am grateful for the encouraging words from many of you…This study is hard truth, but Renee you have done a beautiful job of putting all the right things down to read and try to put into pur lives…I have sayings all over my computer, my cupboards and my mirrors…I just have to live it all…May God richly blesss each and every one of you and thank you if you read this for letting me share my heart even if some of it seems like aI am a crazy woman after God’s own heart….

      • dear Peggybythesea, i like that, reminds me of seashells and mermaids.
        When i was taking care of my 4 month old great granddaughter, we watched Nemo, a colorful underwater animation, at least 3-4 times a day. She and her 3 year old stepsister were fascinated by the colors, and amazingly, i too enjoyed it each time (for five months). So, i have an affinity to the water and love your name.

        As your family is miles away, my family too is far away. I dearly miss each and every one of them and miss those hugs and kisses from the grandchildren and great grandchildren. My daughter tells me, you are here, mom, because that’s where God wants you right now. When He wants you somewhere else, He will open that door for you.

        When i have heartaches, i pray the Psalms, write notes and dates beside the Psalm i am praying. That brings me peace, calming down a stirring tummy. And you know, i too have cried out “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”, both awake and asleep.

        Thank you, Peggybythesea, for sharing your heart.

        • Peggybythesea says:

          Thank you Lois…I know I am not alone and I am prayoing for you also…Thank you for validating my pain…I do have to start writing again, I have over 15 journals that i have written in over the years and for some reason , wriiting again…I dont know I guess I need to just do it….Focus my eyes on Him rather than me…I know that is true for me also, that this is where God wants me right now…For what, i dont know but i have to continue to strive to be closer to Him…Thank you for listening to me…God Bless you…

        • Kimberly Stiver says:

          Thank you for reminding us we are where God wants us to be right now. When He wants us somewhere else, He will open that door for us.
          I needed to hear that! God wants me to know that He has me where I am meant to be. When it is in His timing (not mine!) He will open the next door. I just need to be patient and trust in Him!

  24. Chapter 9 was definitely meant for me. I grew up around a family of habitual worriers and needless to say, I picked up the habit. I’ve learned that when you worry, it breeds negativity and not a positive thought comes to mind let alone out of your mouth. My husband, who is fortunately a positive person, would frequently and lovingly get after me, because he grew tired of the negativity. The Lord used him to positively influence me however, this chapter really shed light on what worry is. Bottom line, it’s lacking trust in God. As I read what Renee wrote about worry, I started to cry because the Lord reminded me in 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God because he cares about you”. Also, Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. I needed these reminders because as hard as I try not to worry, it’s difficult when so much is happening around you.

  25. I read chapter nine while I waited for an appointent at my drs office. It was such a comfort, knowing Im not alone in feelings of being overwhelmed at times. One sentence blew me away :

    Martha was more focused on serving Jesus than seeking Jesus.

    And the reason wny it blew me away is because I know that I am a Martha – there, I admitted it. I’m always the one running around like a chicken without a head, wanting things just perfect. Im the one who wishes to have everthing in control. It’s taken so long to understand that God is the one in control, and that I have to trust Him – even if I do not understand. This is slightly mind blowing. I must trust God even if I don’t understand. He’s not going to steer me wrong. Sometimes I forget that God is not a man. He will not steer me wrong, and He wont abandon me. I need to seek Him more.

  26. I LOVE this- “Sometimes I have to boss my heart around!” :-):-):-):-D Well said Renee Swope!

  27. This is the most personal chapter so far in the book. Since I have shared that I suffer from Anxiety, this chapter resonated so much with my heart. I too have been exhausted over this disorder. Even though I am taking medication, and it does calm the thought process, the physical wear is still very relevant. I loved the WORRY (worry only robs restfrom you), this is just so true. Also the insert of Max Lucado’s % of worry was, in my opinion, spot on. If we can really only influence 8% of what we worry about, then we should only be worried 8% of the time…To share just how much this chapter resonated with my heart, I usually have my journal with me, to help me share what it was that spoke to me. Today I don’t have my journal with me as I type this. It was so dear to my own life and my own struggle with anxiety, it was like this chapter was written by not only Renee, but myself. With the exception of the WORRY and % of worry. However, both made perfect sense to me.

  28. I immediately thought of my son when I read this chapter. We can learn so much from children. When my son was going through cancer treatments he was so at peace. It was hard to explain and harder to fathom how an 8 year old with stage four cancer accepts things as they are with no whining. Once when my husband was getting on a plane to go from WI to Houston for radiation, Alex jumped in my arms, put his hands on the side of my face and said, “Dont worry mom, God knows what He is doing!”

    This resonated even more: My son and I were in a hospital room during his chemo and a nurse asked him if he wanted to talk to a counselor or psychologist about anything that worried him. Alex said he was going to worry only about what he could control. He couldn’t control the cancer or response to the chemo but he knew who could and he talked to Jesus every day.

    Out of the mouth of babes….

    • Wow, I guess-out of the mouth of babes! God was really working through Alex wasn’t He! Those are precious memories – thank you so much for sharing them, Wendy. God really blessed you with Alex didn’t he. I am sure he blessed many through him as well. Have a GREAT day.

      • Thank you for your comments. It means a lot. I shared your thoughts with Alex and he said he wasn’t doing anything special. Only what God wanted him to.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      WOW! He is a very courageous and strong young boy! Thank God for the gifts of little ones! May God bless you and your family. I am going to pray for Alex and you.

      • Thank you for your prayers! I know the innumerable prayers helped Alex through this.

        Interestingly enough, about 3 months before Alex got sick with cancer I told my mom I had a strange feeling. A feeling that he wasn’t going to be on earth for long and that God put him here to teach us something…

        I have learned volumes from him.

        • Wendy, ….”that God put him here to teach us something” brought tears to my eyes and a thump in my heart.

          My youngest granddaughter’s little baby girl was taken back to Heaven last year. Xoey was not quite 5 months old. I never got to see her or hold her, but everyone who did said she was a little loving angel.

          A woman who had just lost her husband held her and wouldn’t let go of her all evening. Afterwards, she told my daughter that Xoey was a little angel who had saved her from sinking deeper into depression, because from that evening forth, she knew she was going to be okay.

          I so agree that God does give us little ones down here on earth, according to His timing, to teach us. Life is so precious, we must cherish the time (and the memories) we have with our family.

        • Wendy, i will lift up prayers for Alex and your family too.

          • Thank you so much, Lois. I’d love to talk to you more. I am so sorry about your great- grandchild. There are no words except to say she is living in paradise.

            If you’d like, my e-mail is Franke1115@gmail.com

            Wendy

    • Wendy, i am unable to get an email message sent to you. It keeps returning to me.

  29. Carrie swearingen says:

    Chapter 8 Answers

    1. Motherhood, I need to embrace who I am in Christ including: beloved, cherished, chosen, accepted
    2. Phlegmatic, sanguine. Pretty happy with personality God gave me but if I could change I would like to be more assertive with others about my feelings instead of shy, be less emotional
    3. Yes
    4. Typing, encouraging others, Writing notes
    5. The servant perceived his master as harsh, I don’t think I have buried my abilities that God has given to me.
    6. 12:1- god gave us spiritual gifts, 12:4-7- god is the source of all spiritual gifts and different gifts are given to everyone. 12:11-12-He decides who gets each spiritual gift. 12:17-20- the body is made up of many parts therefore each believer has their own unique spiritual gifts.
    7. Yes to both questions

  30. Carrie swearingen says:

    Chapter 9 answers

    1. Weekly
    2. Yes. I feel guilty and start crying
    3. Sometimes. There are things He does not want me to be doing
    4. I would have made time to talk with Him. My many things include:job, Abby, marriage
    5. Turn off TV and IPad,, yes there is someone that I can ask to be accountable to for spending time with God.
    6. Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest ( Matthew 11:28) Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long ( ps 25: 4-5) Help me dwell in the shadow of Your wings so I can find rest ( ps 91: 1-2)
    7. Read His Word, Pray His Promises. I can relax in the midst of my busy life by walking, listening to worship music, talk with friends

  31. Kimberly Stiver says:

    WOW! THERE ARE MANY THAT RESONATE IN MY HEART! The one that caught my attention a whole lot was when Renee showed us how damaging worry can be is: Worry Only Robs Rest from You. The other one was that Mary had a listening heart and Martha had a listing heart. The difference is we give Him our lists and our hearts, saying, “Lord, this is what’s on my mind. This is what I’m worried about,” but instead of telling Him what to do, WE STOP AND ASK, “Lord, what is on Your heart? What are Your thoughts toward me? What are Your thoughts about this situation?” AND THEN WE LISTEN! When we find balance between talking and listening to God, we position ourselves to hear what HE HAS TO SAY.
    Those hit me to the core! I can see that I am like Martha and have a listing heart, but God has shown me all a long that He wants my listening heart! Funny how He has been showing me this over and over again and now I am finally listening!

  32. Deut. 33:12 is a beautiful verse. As I was reading it, I got this image of Jesus carrying me on His shoulders through. He promised to never leave nor forsake me and He takes care of me just as a father does for the children he loves. God loves me, and I am His beloved child, and he carrys me through my problems. Not behind or before, but carrys me. That is a beautiful thought. Thank you Jesus, I love you.

  33. I have been contemplating a weekend away and I loved reading that you actually did it. I am sure I would be the same way – distracted by so many other things initially – but I think it would definitely be worth it.

    Thank you for sharing about the things that have happened in your life, and particularly in this chapter about losing your memory and brain power. I am experiencing the same thing, it is better at times and worse at times depending on what is going on in my life. It is so frustrating, but it is helpful to know that I am not alone in this and that there are things I can do (stop worrying, talk to God!) that will help.

    And I loved the last paragraph – talk to Jesus instead of yourself, boss your heart instead of others, God wants us to seek Him, He wants to sit with us and give us His perspective and fill our hearts with CONFIDENCE each day. Amen.

  34. I need to remind myself that no matter how rejected or not loved I feel on earth, I will always be God’s beloved. I need to carry that visual reminder with me.

    One of the parts that stood out to me in this chapter was that God doesn’t promise us understanding, but rather peace in the midst of not understanding.

  35. This entire chapter touched me! I slowly read this one, soaking up the Scriptures you wrote in this plus KNOWING, KNOWING, KNOWING HE WORKS OUT MY PLANS FOR ME! And of course:
    TRUST, TRUST, TRUST!!! Watch out for the “Martha life-style”, focus a lot on “Mary life-style” but of course I have to get things done, but never ever skip at D.A.T.E. with my JESUS!

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